Does Your Car Air Conditioning Stink?

A COMMON problem with car air conditioners is that it creates a stinky smell. This often arises when living in a warm humid climate such as the Gold Coast and the air-con is constantly in use.

If the recycle mode is always switched on this allows the inside air to be recycled over and over again. After a couple of months you will notice there is a mildewy, musty smell from the vents.

Behind the evaporator under the dash board, dust, dirt and moisture collect in the evaporator fins over a period of time. The moisture creates mould, mildew and bacteria. Also the air con may not seem as cold as it normally is even after having the correct charge of gas checked by the car air conditioner technician.

To remove the musty smell from your car air con, I recommend a non-allergenic product called Extol; anti-bacterial spray specially designed for car air conditioners.


It removes all the mildew and bacteria that you would other wise breath in.

After shaking the bottle I spray into the internal and external inlet vents for 3-5 minutes while the system is running in both hot and cold mode. A bottle brush and/or tooth brush is also used to coat the evaporator fins with this solution.

The fins are then lightly rinsed with water which drains through the drain hose out under the vehicle. The drain plug must be checked to see that it’s not blocked and when applicable the cabin filter is replaced.

Helpful Hints:

  • To eliminate further growth, once your air con is cool enough turn ‘a/c max’ off and outside inlet mode to allow outside air to enter through the vents.
  • Just prior to parking your car, turn off the air con and turn the vents on full for 30 seconds to help eliminate moisture.
  • Once you park your car, open the driver’s window a small amount to allow any further moisture to evaporate.